Understanding non-alphabetic language writing: L2 proficiency, writing processes and text quality in L2 Chinese

Xiaojun Lu

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Second language (L2) writing processes have received growing attention from researchers for the past three decades. Yet, few studies have examined the processes involved in non-alphabetic language writing. There is also a need to broaden the research on the relationships among individual capacities, the temporal dimension of L2 writing and text quality. To help fill these gaps, this study examined the relationship between L2 proficiency and real-time writing processes, and the extent to which proficiency modulate the links between writing processes and text quality in L2 Chinese, jointly adopting Kellogg's (1996) and Rijlaarsdam and Van Den Bergh's (1996) writing models as the theoretical frameworks.
Thirty-two L2 writers of Chinese performed two argumentative and two narrative writing tasks on a computer using the Pinyin input method. Their behaviours during writing (i.e. speed fluency, pausing and revision) were captured by Translog 2.0. Participants' proficiency in L2 Chinese was measured by a cloze test adapted from Test of Chinese as a Foreign Language. Text quality was determined via holistic ratings by two independent raters. To capture the real-time processes during writing, the whole session for each task was segmented into five equal stages.
Linear mixed-effects regression analyses revealed that for the whole session, the increase of L2 proficiency led to greater fluency, fewer within-word pauses and more revisions above the word level. Due to the dual steps involved in typing Chinese characters, more proficient L2 writers also stopped less frequently to search for characters among homophones, while revised characters more often. The relationship of L2 proficiency to two revision measures tended to be mediated by stages of writing. L2 proficiency also was found to modulate the links between writing behaviours and text quality throughout the whole and at the different stages of the writing process. The findings will be discussed with reference to previous research on L2 writers of alphabetic languages.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2021
Event30th Annual Conference of European Second Language Association - Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
Duration: 30 Jun 20213 Jul 2021


Conference30th Annual Conference of European Second Language Association
Abbreviated titleEuroSLA30


  • Second language
  • L2 Chinese


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